Twitter Search is Not Search

Twitter’s search is pretty much useless for research. Twitter’s search is not search at all, in the Google sense, but instead it is database query with hard coded limits. Unlink Google, which can render a search result page out of hundreds of millions for a given search query in under half a second, Twitter limits the number of pages you can view for a particular search term. Twitter’s search feature allows for 20 tweets per search page, times the 100 page limit, means you can only search for the 2,000 most recent tweets for any particular search criteria. For a trending topic, 2,000 tweets are posted for a topic in under 20 minutes. So you can not use Twitter’s search functionality to find original tweet of a trending topic. Since Twitter’s search is implemented as a database query and not with a rank algorithm, you can’t find the most retweet, or most pertinent, or most linked tweet!

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